AP Sports Writer
POSTED: 02:47 p.m. HST, Jun 09, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 03:20 p.m. HST, Jun 10, 2013
PITTSFORD, N.Y. >> Inbee Park birdied the third hole of a sudden-death playoff with Catriona Matthew to win the rain-delayed LPGA Championship Sunday.
Park made a 20-foot putt on the par-4 18th to go 2-for-2 in LPGA Tour majors this season. She rebounded in the playoff after blowing a three-shot lead with a closing 3-over 75. The top-ranked South Korean star bogeyed three of her final five holes in regulation and hit only six fairways in the final round.
"It feels great. It was a tough day out there," Park said. "''The amount of fairways I was missing today, it's almost a miracle that I won today. I think I got a little lucky there, too. And I really tried to fight off and tried not to give up. That really paid off."
The 42-year-old Matthew, from Scotland, shot a bogey-free 68 to match Park at 5-under 283 at Locust Hill.
Honolulu's Michelle Wie continued her bounce back from a woeful opening-round 76 by shooting a pair of 1-under-par 71s today to finish tied for ninth at 2 under for the tournament. It was the second Top-10 finish for the Punahou School and Stanford graduate this year. She entered the week ranked 92nd, up eight spots from the week before.
Wie got off to a bad start in her final round, bogeying four of the opening six holes. She righted the ship on the back, closing with three birdies over the last five holes.
The playoff win for Park was a dramatic finish to a marathon of a day in which organizers were forced to squeeze in the final two rounds after torrential rain postponed the first round Thursday.
And a 36-hole day ended up going 39. The tournament wasn't decided until nearly 8 p.m., some 12 hours after Matthew teed off to open her third round.
After both made par on the first two playoff holes, Matthew struggled off the 18th tee on the third. After having difficulty advancing the ball out of the rough just below the green on her third shot, Matthew missed a 50-foot par chip.
The 24-year-old Park also won the Kraft Nabisco in California in early April and has four victories this year. With the victory, Asian players have won nine straight majors.
Also the 2008 U.S. Women's Open winner, Park became only the seventh player to win the LPGA's first two majors in a season, and the first since Annika Sorenstam won the same two events in 2005.
Park has seven career LPGA Tour victories, six in her last 22 starts.
In claiming the $337,500 first prize, Park increased her season winnings to $1.22 million, and moved into 25th on the LPGA Tour's career list at just under $6.5 million.
Suzann Pettersen and Morgan Pressel tied for third, a shot behind the leaders. Pettersen had the low round for the tournament, closing with a 65. Pressel collapsed after she opened the day with a two-stroke lead through two rounds at 6-under 138.
Park shot a 68 in the third round in the morning to take the lead. After shooting 71 in the third round, Pressel had a 75 in the final round.
Park spent the final two rounds playing in the final threesome with Pressel and Chella Choi.
Tied with Pressel at 7 under with nine holes left, Park appeared to take control in building a three-shot lead after the 12th hole.
Pressel bogeyed Nos. 10 and 12, while Park drained a 3-foot putt for a birdie on No. 11.
Park, however, couldn't close, and had to scramble to make a bogey on the 18th.
She flew her tee shot into the left rough, and barely advanced the ball with her second shot.
Park carried the green with her third shot, which landed in the rough about 25 feet above the hole. Park putted to within 16 inches on her par attempt, before sinking it for a bogey.
It was the eighth playoff in LPGA Championship's 59-year history, and first since 2008, when Yani Tseng needed four holes to defeat Maria Hjorth.
At least the weather finally cooperated after persistent rain spent much of the past three days water-logging the 6,500-yard course. Though several fairways and greens were still soggy, the players at least had the benefit of playing under mostly sunny skies and with temperatures pushing 80.